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Monday, April 04, 2011

The Unabomber gets me thinking

  Most people get up in the morning, and read a newspaper, I however –thanks to my mother cancelling our subscription to the newspapers, believing it to be the spawn of negativity- wake up in the morning and go to news websites. And on Sunday morning, while navigating through pages of information, I happened to come across a ‘This day in history’ segment, commemorating the arrest of the Unabomber back in 1996. I had heard of Ted Kaczynski before in passing (they talked about him in ‘Good Will Hunting’) but I didn’t know much about him, so off I went, to the place where all those in the quest for knowledge go…Wikipedia! Let me summarise for you what I learnt from his heavily hyperlinked page - This domestic terrorist gained notoriety after 16 bombings spanning over 20 years. The name Unabomber came from the code that the FBI used to refer to his case –UNABOM (UNiversity and Airline BOMber). It is quite obvious from his manifesto that despite being a child prodigy and a maths. Ph.D. at the age of 25, he was a Luddite, believing that ‘The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race.’(Direct quote from the manifesto). So there we go, one genius upset with the way the world has become, decides that bombing is the only way to make the country an anarchy in the complete sense of the word. Reading this, led to me look up anarchy and I found out that it could mean one of two things: a. A state of general lawlessness or b. A Utopian society with no need for a government. Although the second definition seems far-fetched, it was this one, that inspired the Unabomber and it was this one, which got me thinking, if we could live in such a society. How long would we survive before we turned back to fascist principles? Can we ever really change our increasingly fascist policies to accommodate a population of gargantuan proportions?

   Now I’m not fascist myself, I’m a strong believer in democracy, but it seems to me that almost every important nation these days calls itself a democracy or promotes libertarianism, but in practice, it is invariably fascist. Fascism and anarchy seem to be completely contradictory, but isn’t it true that in a Utopian society, that people follow one single ideology and nobody questions it simply because it works? Maybe it’s just my understanding of fascism, but don’t they sound the same now? Does that mean that we should stop making such brouhaha about democracy and become fascist? But that’s exactly what the conspiracy against FDR was about. Back then, the only way out of the great depression seemed to be fascism, but I forget, it could never work just as it didn’t work back then. Why? Simply because we’ve gotten used to equality, liberty and free-thinking, we would never submit to an oppressor, especially not the military. Although in the case of this conspiracy, it was the military who wouldn't comply with the conspiracy.

   Considering the way average people think, and the way our society seems to be developing, I’m starting to think that no matter how many new ways we find to accommodate differences, there will always, always be one group of people who don’t seem to want it....we may never be happy with our government. But that’s no reason to stop trying is it? It’s like the song ‘Mona Lisa’ by the All-American Rejects-‘What can we do better/When will we know how?/ A man says from a side walk to a crowd’.  I guess right now I’m that man. My opinion may be worth nothing, but I’ll still stand on my soapbox and proclaim my thoughts to you all.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Of cricket and exams

   From the title, I guess you can tell that a lot has happened since I last wrote to you. First of all, the board exams ended, a welcome event, but a thought- provoking one nonetheless. It seemed like a reiteration of the feeling of finality; it showed me how nothing except change is constant in this life. And so, I changed, once again, from a student driven by her pursuit for a decent GPA to one of those aimless people who don’t seem to have any purpose in life except strutting down the street. I had so many things planned for the holidays, knowing all I needed was time and I would able accomplish all those things that I had to put on hold for the exams, but I think I may over-estimated my reading abilities by putting ‘Wuthering Heights’ AND ‘Twelfth Night’ at the top of my exhaustive and extremely long reading list. “Why?” You ask, probably because I’m becoming a literature nerd.
   Anyway the flipside of this schedule is that I only manage to read a couple of pages every day, giving me a lot of time to listen to all my favourite artists on a loop-obviously GOOD music takes a backseat when studying. Another thing that I have been doing is watching cricket matches, which I haven’t really done since I turned 10. I used to be a huge fan of cricket, how could I not after being raised by a loving grandfather who believed cricket to be the only useful thing on TV; but I guess somewhere along the long winding road to teenage, I left that piece of baggage behind. Watching these matches has helped me rediscover my love for the sport and those men in blue. The freshly leveled green pitch, the anticipation right before the toss, frustration at the inclusion of power play (seriously, how much easier can they make it?), the crack of the bat as it hits the ball, that whooping feeling at the pit of your stomach when you realize that Dhoni hit it out of the park…to infinity and beyond, all these feelings that make a cricket fan what they are, I wonder how I could have forgotten it all!